Being inside at your desk all day can drain you, the space often feeling stuffy and enclosed after a prolonged amount of time. Outdoor areas in the corporate world are less of a priority than the indoor workspaces (desk areas, meeting rooms etc.) and so are often overlooked. However getting out in the open, either for lunch breaks or setting up camp there for a day on your laptop, has a world of benefits.

Fresh air has many health benefits. Experts have called upon ‘nature deficit disorder’, in where individuals experience depression and anxiety from spending too little time outdoors.  The term was introduced by Richard Louv, author of best-seller “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder”.  The phrase was to serve as a description of the alienation that humans are experiencing against nature, as more and more of our time is spent inside.

When your nine-to-five job is located in an office, potentially with little ventilation, and then you spend the evening spread out in the comfort of your living room; what fresh air are you getting? Lack of time spent outdoors could be damaging your health, and so outdoor areas in an office complex are important.

Exposure to more fresh air, as reported by Good Relaxation, will have the following benefits to the workforce:
  • Happier employees - The more oxygen your body takes in, the higher your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical which is responsible for your mood balance, and a lack of serotonin may lead to depression, according to some researchers. The more serotonin (some call it the ‘happiness chemical’) the happier you are.
  • Healthier employees - Exposure to fresh air and more oxygen boosts your immune system. Your white blood cells are the ones which fight germs and bacteria, and need oxygen in order to do so. So a boosted immune system will potentially result in fewer absences due to illnesses.
  • Focused employees - Brain power and concentration levels can increase from fresh air and more exposure to oxygen. More oxygen brings more clarity to the brain and will increase energy levels. Your brain requires 20% of your body’s oxygen, so the more you take in, the better your brain is supposed to work.
study in 2008 by Michigan University even revealed that simply viewing photos of nature can improve your performance. The research showed that those shown nature images had 20% improved memory and attention scores, as compared to those shown photos of urban scenes. So despite not actually being out in the open, even visualising outdoor spaces can work and refresh your brain.

Venturing outdoors in your lunch break is a great way to escape your desk, and surround yourself with a new setting. This can refresh the mind, as sitting staring at a screen can be tiresome on the eyes and motivation can slump after a while. And, breathing in that sweet oxygen can give you the health benefits listed above, feeding the brain.

Img: Woodalls Design
Using the great outdoors as a workspace could also be beneficial. Venture out in the summer months with a laptop or tablet to a bench space to enjoy the nice weather, or  if you’re lucky enough to live in a country with decent weather for most of the year, a permanent designated outdoor workspace would be a great facility to have available for employees. 

In California, an online inventory and order management software company provides a rooftop lounge to encourage employees to work out in the open while enjoying the stunning ocean view. CEO and co-founder Raad Mobrem says:

“When we take time in our day to step away from the desk to enjoy where we are, we come back re-energized. It’s helped us to come up with more creative solutions and maintain a generally upbeat and united office environment.”

Moving meeting spaces outside is also an interesting and refreshing approach. SiSense, a business-intelligence and analytics-software company, runs ‘walk and talk’ meetings as a way to escape their computer screens and breathe in the fresh air while being productive at the same time.

Of course, some companies, smaller ones in particular, won’t have the space or resources to create a large dedicated outdoor office space. A way to still bring the health benefits to employees is to bring the outdoors in by decorating with plants and greenery, which will give out that oxygen into the office room and give those health and mind benefits.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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